If Trump can't meet the head of the Irish government at his own golf course, he may skip going to Ireland altogether.
Trump's planned visit to Ireland is suddenly in doubt because of Trump's insistence that the head of the Irish government trek to Trump's golf course for a meeting.
Trump wants to meet Leo Varadkar — Ireland's prime minister, or Taoiseach — at Trump's golf resort, Doonbeg. But the Irish government wants the meeting to take place at Dromoland Castle, which is roughly 31 miles away from Doonbeg, according to a Thursday report in the Irish Times.
Trump was tentatively planning on visiting Ireland between trips to Britain and France in early June. But now, White House officials told the Times, Trump may cancel the Ireland trip altogether and head to Scotland instead.
Trump has a habit of grifting money from taxpayers by forcing the U.S. government to foot the bill when he stays at properties he owns, such as his golf resorts. Because Trump refused to give up his ownership of the Trump Organization when he became president, he still personally profits from his own stays at his properties — and when foreign governments seek to curry favor by staying at Trump-branded properties.
Even if Trump and the Irish government work something out, Varadkar is unsure of what kind of reception Trump will receive from the Irish people.
"The last visit, the only visit I was involved in, the visit of President Obama, and tens of thousands of people turned up on College Green to hear what he had to say and cheer him," Varadkar said in 2017. "You wouldn't necessarily assume that’s the kind of visit it would be [with President Trump]," he added.
In contrast to the warm welcome offered to President Obama, the Irish people are planning to protest Trump's visit. When asked about the prospect on Thursday, Varadkar said protests are "allowed" and "welcome."
In 2018, Trump canceled a visit to Ireland after massive protests were scheduled to greet him. Trump avoided visiting London around the same time, also because of massive protests — including an enormous "Trump Baby" blimp.
Trump can probably expect a similar welcome during his upcoming June trip. The mayor of London opposes the decision to welcome Trump with an official state visit, and protesters are preparing an even bigger Trump Baby blimp.
If the meeting with Varadkar happens, the Irish leader said he would use the opportunity to bring up issues on which he disagrees with Trump. When asked what those were, he listed "issues around climate, for example, on his opposition to free trade, on the criticisms he's made of the EU, on issues such as women's rights."
When asked if he agrees with Trump on anything, Varadkar was stumped.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.